RICHIE ALLEN’s late penalty secured a point for Salford City at home to play-off hopefuls Stockport County in the Vanarama National League North.
Danny Lloyd’s first half strike had given Jim Gannon’s side the lead, but with ten minutes left Allen slotted home to continue Salford’s fine home form, which has seen them lose just once in the league at Moor Lane.
The result sees Salford City stay in second. Stockport remain sixth as both sides push for the play-offs.
Salford City Managers Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson made two changes to the side which saw off Brackley Town, George Green and Patrick Brough returning to the side.
Meanwhile County boss Jim Gannon made three changes to his side, Hinchliffe, Duxbury and Amis starting.
The home side perhaps should have been ahead after 12 minutes; George Green made a surging run from midfield and his ball into the box found Josh Hine but the ball bobbled and struck his knee before he could poke past Hinchliffe.
— Stockport County FC (@StockportCounty) March 18, 2017
A minute later and Stockport took the lead, Danny Lloyd with his 17th goal of the season. The Hatters’ top scorer latched onto Sefton Gonzales’ flick and showed good strength to hold off a defender before firing a low strike past Jay Lynch and into the bottom right corner.
With 21 minutes played Salford had the chance to equalise but Mike Phenix was unable to direct his header on target following Josh Hine’s cross.
The Moor Lane pitch had suffered as a result of constant rain, with players finding it soft under foot and the ball bobbling on the damaged surface.
Salford continued to threaten though, and a mazy run into the box from Jordan Hulme almost brought them level, had it not been for the outstretched leg of a Stockport defender to deny his shot.
Despite some late pressure from the home side, Stockport were able to remain resilient and take a lead into the half time break.
— Danny Lloyd (@dannylloyd1) March 18, 2017
Salford began the second half as the brighter of the two sides, and Green saw a half-volley sail wide of the Stockport net after the ball fell his way.
Mike Phenix brought the best out of County keeper Hinchliffe just before the hour mark, as his powerful header was tipped over from point blank range following a dangerous corner.
The introduction of Fleetwood loanee Nick Haughton provided some much needed impetus to the Salford side; he almost had an immediate impact.
Hard fought point today, another biggen Tuesday now so we go again!??⚽️ @SalfordCityFC
— Nick Haughton (@haughton_nick) March 18, 2017
Minutes after coming on, the 22-year-old picked up the ball in midfield before going on a winding run around the visitors’ players and into the box. His shot was tame and cleared by the Hatters however.
Stockport substitute Kaine Felix could have extended the visitors’ lead. He capitalised on a defensive error to burst through on goal, but he was well stewarded away to deny a clear cut opportunity.
His eventual shot went high over the bar.
With ten minutes to go, Salford full back Michael Nottingham was brought down in the box following a cross from the right, and referee Richard Wild had no hesitation to point to the spot, much to the delight of the home fans.
Richie Allen stepped up to send Hinchliffe the wrong way, slotting his penalty low to the right of the net to equalise and set up an exciting final ten minutes.
There was some late controversy as Stockport’s Felix appealed for a penalty after appearing to have his shirt pulled as he tried to break clear of the Salford defence.
Referee Wild wasn’t interested, and that turned out to be the final action of the game.
Next up Salford will play host to fellow North West side Chorley on Tuesday.
Stockport meanwhile will visit league leaders AFC Fylde on the same day, as the fight for the play-off spots heats up in the final stage of the season.
Salford City (4-3-3): Lynch (GK), Nottingham, Brough, Burton, Grand (C), Priestley, Hulme (Allen 77’), Barnes, Phenix, Hine (Haughton 62’), Green (Poole 77’)
Not Used: Walker, King
Goals: Allen 80’
Stockport County (4-3-3): Hinchliffe (GK), Minihan, Duxbury, Montrose, Clarke (C), Smalley, Amis (Ross 65’), Winter, Gonzales, Ball (Meppen-Walters 81’), Lloyd (Felix 68’)
Not Used: Hampson, Ormson
Goals: Lloyd 13’
Attendence: 1,735 (550 away)
Referee: Richard Wild